Standing Up and Speaking Out: Francisco Gallegos

After a year in the CITL Leadership Program, elementary education major Francisco Gallegos has already participated in a diverse range of leadership experiences – from organizing and promoting a full-house concert at Goshen College’s Music Center (showcasing Chicago-based, Mexican folk band Sones de México) to attending a leadership conference for Latino college students in Chicago. The future will find Francisco assuming more responsibilities, as he will be one of four student leaders of Goshen’s Latino Student Union (LSU), and will also serve as a peer mentor to incoming CITL Leadership Program participants. “Through LSU I’ll be organizing dances, get-togethers and activities, which I’m really looking forward to.”

In addition to gaining valuable leadership experience, Francisco’s involvement with the CITL’s Leadership Program has connected him with other Latino student leaders on campus, easing his transition to college life. “The 11 of us who were new members would get together once a month with the CITL advisers, have dinner and talk about our experiences. We also read a book about Latino college students, and through that book we looked at how the stories related to our journey so far at Goshen College. At one time or another, everyone shared their experience.”

Francisco will participate in another form of intercultural exchange during spring semester of his second year, when he travels to Perú during his Study-Service Term to help build homes for Peruvian families with Habitat for Humanity. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit another country. Even better, the semester won’t cost me any extra money, because it’s already covered in my tuition.”

Francisco’s father wanted to ensure that the decision to send his son to college would “move his family forward.” After seeing all that his son has accomplished in just a year, Francisco Sr. found that the Center offers a golden opportunity. “The program is a great benefit for Latino families,” said Francisco Sr. “I’m very proud of my son.”

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